India Broadband: Where do we stand on a Global Internet Map?

These days, we all are talking about Internet speed in India. I am sure that once in every gathering of minimum of 2 friends, they talk about it and discuss where are we (India) lacking, who is offering what speed and at what prices, etc.

We talk, because we see some hope & scope of improvement to speed up our work, communication and entertainment with the use of Internet. We (at least me) feels ashamed when I had told my Internet speed Vs money I pay, to my friends abroad!

It is frustrating when ‘connection times out’ while you’re purchasing online, booking tickets, meeting people, video chatting with families abroad, uploading large files, grabbing knowledge from video tutorial and so on…
(And I did not mention playing multi-player games online here because we simply cannot do it in our bandwidth. )

I can go and have cup of coffee or smoke a cigarette or have a phone call to friends if  I am downloading or uploading heavy files! Because I cannot / should not do anything on the computer fearing that  connection may get interrupted if I browse or my computer may hang in between then I will have to re-start the whole process!

As we talk and wait (and only wait) for 3G launch in India – Where we stand on Global Internet map –  is not pleasing at all.

Here are few details which I obtained from speedtest.net. You can also check your internet speed on this site.
Listed as Rank > Country > Download speed

1.  Republic of Korea – 22.49 Mb/s
2.  Aland Islands –  18.87 Mb/s
3.  Latvia – 17.92 Mb/s
4.  Japan –  16.94 Mb/s
5.  Romania – 16.17 Mb/s
12. Hong Kong – 11.57 Mb/s
16. Germany – 9.58 Mb/s
24. Singapore –  8.32 Mb/s
25. France – 8.07 Mb/s
28. United States – 7.60 Mb/s
123. Srilanka – 1.49 Mb/s
127.India – 1.45 Mb/s

* This information is excluding tests done with connections used by Colleges and Corporations.

We stand way below at 127th with an average speed of 1.45 Mb/s with a hope to get somewhere within Top 50 countries.

If we look at some Broadband Plans on offer from various ISPs. The most noticing thing about these plans are, speed in ‘KB’s & cost in ‘K’s. It still feels like a luxury to have a faster Internet connection. 8mbps, 24mbps, 30mbps, 50mbps – these kind of numbers are only creating a buzz but nothing beyond it.

While the world is moving fast, moving heavy, getting  more HD – How are we going to catch up with them?

I would really appreciate if ISPs provide minimum of 1 MBps & 2 Mbps unlimited plans in current prices of 256 kbps & 512 kbps unlimited plans (not exceeding Rs. 1750/month with taxes) with almost zero downtime – I think this should be enough for now and would be a good stepping stone to tell other countries that yes, we’re coming!

I would really appreciate to know your view on this.

BSNL gifts Double Speed to it’s Broadband Users (Unlimited Plans only)

First time, since 2007  I am feeling really cheerful about being a BSNL broadband user! Why?

I went to office in the morning on 30th March 2010. And as a part of the same routine, I have practiced to reset BSNL modem on a regular basis to get uninterrupted Internet connection. But on 3oth it was something different! I started pinging BSNL DNS (which is also I do regularly to see terrible ping durations).

I realized that ping duration was consistent at 7ms! When I started downloading attachments from my email, I was stunned and shocked with joy to see download speed of 110 Kb/sec which used to be at around 60 Kb/sec. I could not believe my eyes but yes it was true. I tested this for almost a day.

Then I started searching all over as if there is something wrong with BSNL! That’s what comes to my mind (and I am sure it happens with many) when it is about them and then I came across the Source of this news!

“Existing landline Broadband customers to taste higher speeds and enjoy fast moving virtually live games like cricket, it has DOUBLED THE SPEEDS for all its customers who have unlimited home usage plans with speeds in the bracket ranging from 256 Kbps to 1 Mbps without any extra charge upto 26th April 2010.”

Which simply means that BSNL is offering double the speed of your existing Unlimited Home Usage Plan.

As a loyal broadband customer of BSNL for such a long time (We had no other option) I was expecting but they did not send email to notify about it. Most of the users are still not aware of this new limited time offer and many users are not getting double speed even if they have Unlimited Home Usage Plans!

Few Pointers:

  • I am registered for UL 1350 PLUS , which is a 512 kbps unlimited usage plan.
  • I used to get download speed of about 50~60 kbps max. for http & torrent downloads.

Now:

  • I am getting 110+ KB/sec speed for torrents & http downloads
  • Youtube & other videos are streaming extra fast.
  • I did few speed tests on speedtest.net & it showed me line speed of 1 mbps on most of the time.

Here are few screen shots which might raise your eyebrows for sure, like it did to me. :)


My guess is that, since 3G services are very near to their launch, this could be a tech test happening for a month. And if everything goes well they might start giving this higher speed plans by default in the same price! I only hope that is the case. :-)

50 MBPS Broadband Connection from Bharti Airtel

When ever we talk about broadband connection in India, the most common problem whichAirtel_Logo we will face is broadband speed. The maximum speed which I have personally used from a home user perspective is 2 MBPS. Though Airtel speed on demand let me get 8 MBPS speed in the past but again paying 120rs/hour (2.5$) doesn’t sound affordable to me all the time.

Airtel has launched 2 new broadband plan for Delhi and Gurgaon :

  • 50 MBPS Broadband– Rs. 8999 per month
  • 30 MBPS Broadband– Rs. 7999 per month

The data transfer is not unlimited. 200 GB of free data transfer are allowed in this plan, that mean’s you can download lots of data with blazing speed.

Though this doesn’t seems like affordable by a normal home user but from a business perspective this plan seems to be very much effective. Right now we are using Tata internet connection in our office with backup connection from Airtel.

If you are an Indian broadband user, I will love to know your view on this new broadband plan from Airtel?

How to save bandwidth on limited broadband plans

bandwidth-saving Most of the Indian broadband users are on limited bandwidth plans. The reason for choosing these limited broadband plans is lower price than unlimited plans and also higher speed than unlimited plans. For example BSNL 500C+ plan gives you 2.5 GB of free bandwidth and 2Mbps speed whereas unlimited 750 plan gives you only 256Kbps speed. So most of the people use limited plans. These plans offer high speed but can also result in a heavy monthly bill if you go beyond your download limit. This article is about monitoring and saving your bandwidth to save yourself from extra bills.

Monitor your Internet usage

A limited broadband user must monitor his internet usage. By monitoring internet usage you can spend less time on internet when you are reaching to limit. Networx is a great software to monitor your bandwidth. You can also set free hours so that it ignores counting in that period. You can also set monthly quota and it displays warning messages when you reach near to the limit. An alternative to NetWorx can also be NetMeter.

Link: Networx

Take advantage of your Free Downloading hours

Many limited bandwidth plans offer free downloading hours. Like BSNL500C+ plan offer free downloading between 2AM to 8AM. Most of the ISPs have same plans, you get free downloading at night. But it is difficult to wake up at 2AM and download. But by using scheduling softwares like your Internet Download Manager, you can easily take full advantage of your free hours. Schedule your download manager to start downloads at 2am and stop at 8am. Place download links in the day and it will automatically download at night.

Save bandwidth while browsing

While surfing the net, you can screw up a lot of bandwidth. Sites with flash content, loads of images and advertisements eat up lots of bandwidth. To save your bandwidth without effecting your great browsing experience, use Ad blocking addons in Firefox or Chrome. Also use the FlashBlock addon to save loading unwanted flash objects, animations and videos. It will save your bandwidth and also improve your browsing experience.

While using all these tools, you should also remember on thing that these tools can only save your bandwidth if you want them to. You should also control yourself from clicking on every link or downloading at monitored hours.  In the end, we also want to hear from you, what are your ways to save bandwidth?

800 Airplanes with Broadband Soon!

image-1 A recent research indicates that by the end of 2009, there will be about 800 planes with in-flight broadband services. And this would generate a worldwide passenger revenue of $49 million.

By the end of 2008, there were only 25 airplanes with broadband enabled. Reports indicate that this market is still emerging and will grow upto $1 billion annually by 2012.

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

  • In-flight broadband equipment revenue will nearly double between 2009 and 2013.
  • Competing providers include Aircell, Panasonic and Row44.
  • In-Stat forecasts over 200 million annual in-flight broadband connects by 2013, with long-haul connects dominating over short-haul connects.
  • Connections from handheld devices will account for about 1/3 of connects, with notebook computers accounting for 2/3.

How will this work?

Airplanes would get their broadband connectivity through:

  1. Satellite (like Row44 and Panasonic’s service)
  2. An air-to-ground network (Aircell’s service based on its own air-to-ground network)

Challenges till date

  • Weak economy
  • Poor availability of in-flight entertainment
  • High costs of the service and equipment
  • Difficulty getting regulatory approval for external antennas
  • Extra weight of the equipment adding to fuel costs

Where are we today?

  • Aircell has been working with American, Delta, United and Virgin America to offer Gogo broadband Wi-Fi services on a number of planes.
  • JetBlue’s “BetaBlue” plane has a narrowband service that allows sending emails and instant messages.
  • American Airlines has plans to install in-flight broadband in more than 300 of its airplanes in the next two years.
  • All 28 planes of Virgin America should have Wi-Fi enabled by June this year.
  • Alaska and Southwest airlines have begun testing Row 44’s satellite-delivered broadband services on some planes.

With service and equipment costs going down, conditions look a lot brighter now. In-flight broadband providers like Aircell, Row44, and Panasonic can now look at large scale deployments.

(Source: In-stat)

What does ‘Unlimited Broadband’ really mean?

Broadband ISPMajor Indian Broadband market players viz. Airtel,  TataIndicom and Reliance now have an asterisk (*) [Conditions apply] on their unlimited Broadband plans. Following the metered broadband trend from International players, they are also providing unlimited Broadband attached with
Fair Usage Policy”  [..lol…]

Under this scheme if you violate their policy, your speed may be reduced to half or you have to pay some more bucks. Worse, they may terminate your connection.

There are a lot of threads you can find on Broadband forums regarding this step, so be aware and use the BB carefully respective to your ISP  :( .

You are not going to get all that you are paying for. [Unfair policy]

Check what unlimited means ;)

TataIndicom Unlimited Means

Speed                 Limit
64 kbps               5GB
128 kbps            20GB
256 kbps            45GB
384 kbps            70GB
512 kbps            80GB

If you go beyond your limit, you will get a call from Tata Customer Care ( ;) ) and they will suggest you to reduce the usage or upgrade to a higher plan. If not, they will terminate your broadband connection.

Link: TCISL Fair Usage Policy

Airtel Unlimited Broadband Means

Speed               Limit
128 kbps          10GB
256 kbps          15GB
384 kbps          20GB
512 kbps           25GB

If you cross this Fair Limit ;)  your speed will be reduced to half for rest of  month with out any intimation.

So, what do you think… unlimited means ???

Link: Airtel Fair Usage Policy | Check the Reliance unlimited broadband features also